• The Knockouts Need Your Help to Help Puerto Rico

    Posted by Ann Wilt



    Since their founding 21 years ago, the Knollwood Knockouts have used their fundraising efforts to help those in need.  Previous recipients of their efforts include Honor Flight, The American Heart Association, The Waukesha County Food Pantry, Saddlebred Rescue, ASAW, and ASHA.

    This year, we're reaching a little further. The club recognizes the continued hardships being suffered by the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Maria. The club made contact with friends in Puerto Rico and are collecting items requested to help them through their rebuilding process.  Many are still without power, and every day necessities are in short supply.

    Please help the Knockouts with a donation of any of the items our friends in Puerto Rico have requested below:

    Calorie dense  non perishable food such as tuna or salmon in PACKETS, dry beans, granola bars, or nuts.

    Baby formula and diapers


    We're collecting donations in the show barn lounge through the Knockout holiday party on December 16.  Shortly after, we'll box the items up and send them via US Mail to Puerto Rico. If you'd like to help with the boxing effort, please contact either Ann or Nancy to join the party!

    We ask that you purchase non-canned food, as it will weigh less and take up less space in our care packages.



    We know the holidays are busy, so if you would like to help but don't have time to shop, we've done the research for you!  The Unidos Fund from the Hispanic Federation is sending 100% of donations to Puerto Rico relief.  You can read more about it here.

    Please feel free to give any Knockout member a check made out to "Unidos Fund, Hispanic Federation", and we'll include it with our other donations.  All donations to Unidos are 100% tax deductible.

    Your donations will be a welcome gift to brighten the lives of the people of Puerto Rico during the holidays. Thank you in advance for your generosity that will help the Knockouts make the world a better place. 



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  • An Insider's Guide to the Fall Finale

    Posted by Ann Wilt


    We're excited to be hosting the Knollwood Fall academy show this weekend, the 16th academy show at which we've competed in 2017.  It's a favorite because most of our horses get to join the fun, with the exception of a few of the boys who have told us that they'd rather not be in the spotlight. We get to introduce some new riders to the fun of horse showing, and to watch the progress of our more experienced riders. It offers everything from our future stars showing in leadline to fun classes like bareback and pairs to the finals of the Knollwood Challenge for both walk trot and walk trot canter riders. 

    We have some helpful tips to help you understand the show, to be prepared for the horse show experience, and to act like a pro even if it's your first show.



    The Horse Show Office


    When you arrive, be sure to check in at the horse show office located in the school barn lounge.  You'll receive your back number, and the helpful ladies can answer any questions about the show.  You can even ask them questions about other topics, and they might surprise you.

    Be sure to check in with Dean, the official horse show office cat.  You'll find him sleeping in the back number box, no doubt.

    Riders competing in pattern classes can pick up their copies here, and everyone will be able to walk their patterns before the start of the show.

    First time show riders will receive a brief memo outlining some of the day's procedures as well.

    We'll also be selling tee shirts, and taking orders for our fabulous Knollwood jackets for Christmas delivery.  Size samples and order blanks are available in the office.  Orders are being taken through Sunday, November 12, and these make great gifts!


    Hair Salon

    Our professional horse show hair stylists will be working in the show barn lounge for this show.  Please arrive on time for your session as their schedule is pretty tight. Remember to bring a hair tie, a hair net, bobby pins, a brush, and hairspray. Need a bow to complete your look?  We have a great assortment available from Jodi starting at only $3. 

    Jodi also has great ties, number magnets, vest bling, collar bars, and many other horse show accessories available at the show.  Be sure to shop in the horse show office!


    Support Saddlebreds With Music

    We're repeating our popular fundraiser for Saddlebred Rescue at this show.  (We raised over $200 at our summer show.)

    For only $5, you can select a song to be played during the class of your choice with all proceeds going to Saddlebred Rescue.  You can sign up and pay in the school barn lounge.  Classes are going fast!!




    A Toasty Concession Stand

    With the weather forecast looking a little cold and rainy, we've decided to move the concession stand to the show barn in front of the wall of World Champion Photos. (There also happens to be a picture of Scott's bike, which actually has never won a world championship or triple crown of any kind.)

    We are still looking for volunteers to work a shift at the stand on either Saturday or Sunday. It's a fun way to earn your service hours for the Knockouts so you can be eligible for a year end high point award.  You can sign up here to help the club.



    The Helper Basket Challenge

    Six helper teams have entered into a competition to create the best gift basket at the show.  Be sure to check them out and buy tickets so you can win your favorite.

    Our judge for the weekend will have the difficult task of picking the winning team who will receive a pizza party courtesy of the Knollwood Knockouts.

    Proceeds of the baskets and concession stand benefit the Knollwood Knockouts and their charitable activities.



    Finals of the Knollwood Challenge

    Let's face it, Team Knollwood loves equitation and how it prepares you to present a horse to it's best advantage. Our show riders compete at the biggest shows in the country, and will be competing at the UPHA National Championship American Royal Show while we're competing at home. 

    We have 6 riders showing in the last of the equitation finals for 2017, and 5 more riders competing for national championships in performance divisions. Many of these riders started in our arena at our in-barn shows.


    To promote equitation, horsemanship, and sportsmanship, we have developed our own version of an equitation final, just like the ones in Kansas City. Each of our in-barn shows hosts qualifying classes for the fall final.

    In the walk trot and canter division, riders perform rail work before each rider trots an inverted figure eight.

    In the walk and trot division, riders perform rail work before each rider trots a non-inverted figure eight.

    The top 2 places in each qualifying class advance to the final at the November show.

    These finals will finish our show performances each day.  Riders who finished first or second  in April, July, and November will return to perform railwork and then return to the arena one at a time to perform a more difficult workout.


    After the judge has made her difficult decisions, the winners will be announced in reverse order, with the first place winner in each division winning a traveling bronze trophy and a custom show shirt of their choosing from deRegnaucourt who outfits many of our show barn riders.


    We're looking forward to a great weekend of horse showing at home, and in Kansas City. You may be able to catch a little of the action from the Royal as some fans will be watching the live stream throughout the weekend.  



    Please feel free to ask questions along the way.  Any instructor would be happy to assist, and we have some great horse show parents who know all the tricks of the trade.


    Sit back and enjoy the show. The horses and riders are pretty amazing!

    We love what we do.





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  • Stories From The Fall IASPHA Show

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    We just finished our 2017 academy show season at the Fall IASPHA show in Gurnee.  The organization hosts 3 shows a year at Fields and Fences, a wonderful facility where everything is under one roof.  It’s heated, has the best concession stand food in the land, and can accommodate a large event comfortably.  The show offers hospitality events every night, welcome goodies for each barn, and one heck of a costume class on Saturday night. (More about that later…)

    Here are our favorite stories from the weekend where we had a blast.

     Our ’B’ Riders Rocked


    Jodi, Laura, and Mary enjoyed a successful season showing JD, Heist, and Panic.  Competing in pleasure classes, these three love spending time with their show horses at these friendly shows.  This was a particularly good show for them, with Laura finishing reserve champ in the Show Pleasure division for Limit Riders, and Mary came in third.  Jodi and JD had some strong rides as well.

    Besides showing at these events, these three are invaluable keeping everything running smoothly during big academy performances.  They help us prep horses, keep stalls clean and bedded, wash millions of legs and tails, and offer confidence boosting advice to our up and comers.  We couldn’t do it as well without them!


     Forest Made The Trip

    So, it’s always been Lauren’s dream to show Forest at an out of barn show, and we wanted to bring him for the costume class, so her dream came true this weekend.  Lauren is a fan of all horses, serving as the president of ‘The Fred Fan Club,’ and always choosing unusual horses to show at the Knollwood show.  She is a true animal lover, as witnessed by her home menagerie and her success at showing goats with the one and only Mabel.

    Lauren and Forest worked the arena, going deep and making passes off the rail.  Some of the horses in the ring looked unsure about the short, rather round yellow horse with the mohawk who was making his way around the show ring.  The rather unusual looking team was rewarded with some great ribbons including third place in the equitation championship.  The audience was treated to a picture perfect workout by the equitated Fjord.

    After his championship, Heather who was supposed to ride JD in the pattern class decided to give it a try on Forest.  She talked Forest into cantering a respectable serpentine, and finished in third out of 9 good patterns.  We applaud these riders and their performances of horsemanship and sportsmanship. 



     Forest and The Crazy Bees

    So after the Saturday afternoon academy performance, we switched gears to prepare for the main event of the evening, the costume class.  After 3 hours of painting and drying the paint, Forest was transformed into a bee.  (Great thanks to Mary for creating his wings!)

    We added riders dressed as bees, and a bee whisperer to complete our “Crazy Bees’ entry for class 1313.

    We finished 5th in a crazy competitive class with fabulous costumes.


    The Dynamic Duo

    Haley and Lora joined us for the weekend to help us with 19 academy riders, a bee costume, and the ‘B’ horses.  Their years of experience made them an invaluable addition to the weekend as they worked lesson horses, washed tails and legs, helped academy riders warm up, perform tack changes, and pitched in wherever they could,

    Haley also had the privilege of changing Forest back from his bee costume to his everyday Fjord suit. Our 2 super helpers will be off to compete in the equitation finals at the Royal next week, and we’re so grateful for their time and energy last weekend!



     Grownups Galore

    The adult academy division is thriving at IASPHA.  Classes in horsemanship and equitation each had 10 entries, and Team Knollwood accounted for 5 of them.  We had an assortment of ages and experience among our riders, and they all had a great time.




     Rachel’s First Show

    Rachel started riding at Knollwood in 2000,  having grown up almost next door to the farm.  She enjoyed showing at the in-barn shows, but could never quite swing out of barn shows as a kid.

    Rachel went to college and to vet school in Minnesota where she found a friendly barn to ride.  She’s now a practicing small animal vet in the area, has purchased her first house, and just attended her first out of barn show.

    Rachel showed one of our newest horses, Rumours of War, and did a great job.  We’re really proud of her patience and her accomplishments at the first show.



     Friends Helping Friends

    So this was a really popular show, and we were short on horses for the walk trot and canter academy division.  Our friend Sammy at Lance Hayes Stables offered us the use of Deker’s All American who was born and started his show career at Knollwood.  (He actually shares his daddy with Dexter and Hooper.)

    Maddie made a trip to Neenah for a lesson up there, and then did a practice ride on Friday at the show.  She and Sharky ‘clicked’ at the show, and won all three of their classes in the 13 and under division.

    Great thanks to Sammy for helping us out.

    On Sunday, our friends at Huntoon Stables found themselves with a lesson horse that wasn’t having a great day, so we lent them our walk trot academy rockstars Klem and Hooper so riders could continue to show.

    We live in a small industry, and we try to help friends whenever we can. 



     Our Walk and Trot Future is Bright

    We may have had fewer riders for the walk and trot academy performance on Sunday, but we had plenty of quality horse/rider combinations in the ring.

    Sofia  has made a lot of progress this season, and finished with a bang at IASPHA.  She and Baxter used the ring well in some heavy traffic and got a little better with every ride as their confidence increased.

    We’re super excited for our 2 riders who were showing at only their second show.  Aiden and Rachel made their show ring debuts at the ASAW Summer Showcase in August, and wanted to show one more time in 2017.

    They both rode in big classes full of experienced show riders, and looked like they belonged in the group.  Aiden and Eddie gained confidence with every ride, and even finished 5th in their championship of 10 riders.  Rachel had Hugo trotting with a real purpose, even winning their equitation qualifier and their championship.



     Richie and Tink

    Richie has enjoyed a great academy season in 2017 as he’s been working hard at home learning to ride his new horse, the incomparable Miss Mheiry Mack.  All his effort paid off this weekend as he made his debut with ‘Tink’ in the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation division.

    While they were the only competitors in their division, these 2 showed great progress with every ride.  Tink is all show horse through and through, so she feels incredibly different than even our fanciest lesson horses.  She’s been a show horse her whole career, loves every minute of it, and has a lot to teach.

    Richie showed again that he’s a true student of horses.  After each ride, he and Carol would discuss the class and their strategy for the next class, which he executed like a professional.

    We’re incredibly proud of all that Richie has accomplished in the lesson program, and we can hardly wait to see the further adventures of Richie and Tink.  Next up for them is the UPHA National Championship American Royal.




    What’s Ahead?

    The Knollwood Fall Show is coming up fast on November 11 and 12, and it’s going to be a great one.  We’re a little short of help with the concession stand, as the show horses and their families will be in Kansas City at the Royal.  We’re looking for help staffing the stand as well as contributions of taco meat and goodies for the bake sale.  If you’d like to join the fun, you can sign up here.

    Hair appointments are going fast!  If you don’t already have yours set, please do so soon.  And remember to bring your supplies:  a hair tie, bobby pins, hair nets, a brush, and hairspray.

    There’s still time to sign up for practice rides on Friday the 10th at either 5:30 or 6:30. Please talk to your instructor if you’re interested in this little bit of extra practice.



    Our show horses are heading to Kansas City on Friday for the UPHA National Championship American Royal Show.  Home to the UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals, the USEF Medal Final, and numerous national championships, this last show of the 2017 campaign will be a great one.  We'll post schedules and links to purchase the webcast soon so you can follow along.


    See you at the barn!



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  • Where We've Been, and Where We're Going

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    Everyone enjoyed a few days at home base this week after the show horses returned from a very successful Mane Event show in Springfield, Illinois.

    Our horses and riders rode well and learned a lot at this favorite fall show.  In the performance division, our 5 gaited riders rode with a purpose and were rewarded for it.  Ainsley and Millie were winners of both the qualifier and the championship in the Junior Exhibitor division.  This team keeps getting better and better as they head to one of Ainsley's favorite shows, The American Royal in a few weeks.

    Fresh off an impressive championship win in St Louis, Allison and Roy were at it again at Mane Event, winning the amateur qualifier and finishing reserve in their deep championship.

    Once again, Kerry showed her versatility in two divisions.  She teamed with her charismatic park mare Leila in the amateur division and earned great ribbons in strong competition.

    She then slowed it down a bit to show her mother Susan's western horse Rudi in the western pleasure division.  She truly can ride anything.

    Parker finished out her junior exhibitor career at Mane Event, and went out in style as she and Smyth were reserve champions in Country Pleasure for Junior Exhibitors.

    Parker grew up a Knollwood Kid, and enjoyed a very successful academy career before graduating to the leasing program last season.  She's had the opportunity to show several horses under the guidance of Scott and Carol, and has enjoyed a lot of success.

    Our equitation riders made their presence known at Mane Event which really showcases the discipline.

    Haley and Lora made it all the way to the top 10 of the Good Hands National Final.  All the riders competing were accomplished and smooth, and the tiniest bauble knocked riders out of contention.

    Team Knollwood brought contenders for the adult edition of the Good Hands Final, too.  Sarah and Fergie finished fourth while Frannie and Butters finished fifth in a strong group of 'grown up' equitation riders.

    Madison and Hanna were rockstars in the Jackpot Equitation class at the show.  Open to any equitation rider, the class features many of the best in the country.  We're happy to report that Madison finished in second, and 11 year old Hanna finished third and received a first place vote from one of the judges.


    Finn learned a lot about her beautiful mare Frankie in the deepest competition they've yet been in, and won the USEF Medal qualifier at the show.


    Our show horses and riders have one more show this season, the UPHA National Championship American Royal in Kansas City.  The show features National Championships in many divisions, and hosts the last 2 equitation finals in the Triple Crown.  We can hardly wait!




    This weekend, our academy team heads to the fall IASPHA show in Gurnee, their last out of barn show of the 2017 season.  Shows put on by this organization are always popular, and this edition is no exception.  We're traveling with 19 academy riders, 3 'B' horses, and a very special horse and rider making their show ring debut.  


    By way of a preview of the weekend, our 19 academy riders include 5 adult riders, including one who will be making her show ring debut after growing up a Knollwood Kid and showing at in-barn shows.  IASPHA offers adults their own championship classes, and they really like it, showing up in great numbers.

    The show is so popular for us, that we're even borrowing a horse from another program.  Maddie is lucky enough to be showing the one and only Sharky, officially known as Deker's All American.  He grew up at Knollwood, so we guess he was a Knollwood Kid.  He's now teaching lessons at Lance Hayes Stables in Neenah, and instructor Sammy was kind enough to offer his services to us. We are grateful to Sammy and Lance, and are looking forward to watching Maddie have a blast with giant Sharky.

    In the spirit of the Halloween theme, we're bringing an unusual horse for the walk trot and canter academy classes on Saturday afternoon.  Lauren has always wanted to show Forest in an out of barn show, so this is her dream come true. After his academy performance, his transformation will start as we prepare him for the costume class.  Trust us, this is going to take a while, so you may want to stop by the aisle with refreshments for us.

    Because of the big turnout, we're bringing in extra support staff.  We're thrilled that Good Hands Top 10 riders Haley and Lora and joining us as personal assistants to our riders and horses for the weekend. They'll also be called in to work on costume creation, though they may not know that yet... Sue, creator of the patented 'Berget Bun,' is joining us Saturday to make sure all our riders look perfect, and to save Laura from having to create 14 buns at once.


    Even Carol is joining us, as she's bring a rider making a debut at the show.  Richie has been working his way up in the walk and trot academy ranks.  His parents purchased Miss Mheiry Mac last winter, and team building has been progressing quickly. They'll make their debut in the 10 and under walk and trot equitation division at the show, and we can hardly wait to see Tink show her new rider exactly how it's done.



    Meanwhile, at home, the Knollwood Fall show is coming up fast, November 11 and 12.

    Sign up sheets are up in the school barn lounge for hair appointments and for the helper gift baskets.  Please consider donating to the helper team of your choice, as the winning helper night will receive a pizza party courtesy of the Knockouts.

    You can also sign up for practice rides with your instructor.  Held on Friday, November 10, these classes are perfect for our maiden riders, or for those who'd like a little refresher.

    See you at the barn!

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  • The Quest For The Triple Crown Starts Now!

    Posted by Ann Wilt

    The Mane Event Horse Show gets underway tomorrow in Springfield, and with it starts the quest for the triple crown of equitation. 

    Dating back to 1929, the Good Hands final is the most historic event in the crown which also includes the UPHA Challenge Cup Final and the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final. In order to be a triple crown winner, a rider must win all three finals in the same year.

    It's a monumental feat, and we're proud to say that Team Knollwood has produced two Triple Crown winners so far.  Sarah Thordsen won in 2001, and Nick Maupin won in 2010. They're the only Wisconsin/Illinois  riders to have accomplished the feat, and both started their lessons right here at Knollwood.

      The last 2 events are held at the UPHA American Royal National Championship Show in November.

    Competition for the Good Hands final starts on Friday morning with Phase I.  All riders who have placed first or second in a qualifying class throughout the season are eligible to show in Springfield.  Phase I will consist of railwork after which each rider will perform the qualifying pattern for the final which is: canter a figure 8, trot to the judge, and back.

    Following phase I, the judges will pare the initial group down to 10-15 riders. Those selected will move on to phase II on Saturday afternoon where the riders will again perform on the rail and perform a pattern of the judges' choice.

    The awards ceremony when the Top 10 riders will be introduced and the ribbons handed out will be Saturday evening at 6:30.

    Scores are weighted so rail work will count for 40% of the score while patterns will count for 60%.  Phase I and Phase II scores are weighted evenly, so every ride counts.

    This competition features the best of the best, and progressing into phase II is a major accomplishment for any rider.

    Team Knollwood is sending a strong contingent to compete in the Good Hands.  

    Fresh off their successes in the pleasure equitation finals this fall, Haley and Madison are looking forward  to the challenge of the open division.

    As winners of the junior finals, Finn and Hanna can hardly wait to show against the best that the equitation world has to offer.  Watch for these young riders try to make their presence known in the deep end of the horse show pool.

    Lora has made a name for herself in the trimmed equitation this season.  With reserve championships at the prestigious Lexington Junior League and the St Louis National, as well as the championship at the All American Horse Classic, Team Sophie is ready for the challenge that awaits.


     The event also offers an adult edition of the final.

      Team Knollwood is sending Sarah and Frannie to compete in the 'grown up' version on Friday night where they'll perform both on the rail and in pattern work.







    In addition to the equitation events, the Mane Event show hosts a deep, deep horse show for all divisions of Saddlebreds and ponies.

    Team Knollwood will be well represented in the 5 gaited divisions.

    Coming off their impressive amateur championship win at St Louis,  Allison and Roy are ready to 'turn and burn' again in Springfield.

    Ainsley and Millie wowed us at the All American Horse Classic, and are ready to take on all comers in the Junior Exhibitor 5 Gaited division this weekend. 



    Kerry will again be a force in the Park division with Leila, and will don her western gear again to show Rudi as well.



    Parker and Smyth will take on competitors in the Country Pleasure division, and Scott has several horses going for the Jackpot classes.


    You can follow all the action on the USEF Network.





    Meanwhile, at home, Halloween on Horseback takes over the arena on Friday night.  We're looking forward to seeing 12 of the best lesson horses in the world wearing costumes while exhibiting their endless ability to laugh at it all.


    We'll host a Knockout meeting at 2:30 on Saturday, and parents are welcome to join us to seal the gazebo at 3:00 on the same day.

    Oh, and we'll be prepping for the sold out IASPHA show the following weekend, where we'll compete with 19 academy riders.  The Knollwood show is coming up fast, so those preparations are going full speed, too.

    It takes a village, and we've got a great one.

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